[W]riter and TV presenter Dr Ben Goldacre visited the region as part of an annual event to mark the significant achievements of clinical research professionals in the North East and North Cumbria.
Physician Ben, whose work focuses on uses and misuses of science and statistics and includes non-fiction bestseller book Bad Science, was keynote speaker at the NIHR Clinical Research Network: North East and North Cumbria (CRN: NENC) ‘Performing Through Partnership’ event at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland.
He presented to more than 250 healthcare professionals sharing humorous insights into his work on ‘Bad Trials’ and how research results can be misinterpreted by the masses.
The event is held annually by the CRN: NENC to showcase the successful research studies taking place in the region, recognise NHS staff and to set out plans for the year ahead.
Professor Stephen Robson, Clinical Director of the CRN: NENC, said: “It’s been a very eventful year and we’re here today to celebrate that success and to look at how we can continue to improve in the future.
“There has been a fantastic amount of hard work and effort invested into clinical research in the North East and North Cumbria and we, as a region, should be proud of the strides we’ve made by working together to deliver successful research projects.
“Going forward we need to build on this and continue to come together to work more as a family utilising what we are best at individually.”
In North East and North Cumbria last year, there were 1,824 patients recruited to more than 160 commercial studies. Researchers in the region were also responsible for three global first studies and three European first studies.
Other speakers at the event included Professor Yan Yiannakou, from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, and Dr Hakim Yadi, Chief Executive at the Northern Health Science Alliance.
Dr Yadi gave an insight into how partnerships can help deliver success and he praised the North of England as “a Northern Powerhouse in health science research” which performs “more trials than London, Oxford and Cambridge combined”. While Prof Yiannakou spoke of the successes and achievements of the network to date and aims for the future.
Clare Grace, Vice President, Site and Patient Access, at INC Research, also travelled to the region to share her knowledge on creating high performance clinical research sites in a rapidly changing landscape where technological advances are constantly evolving.
She stressed the importance of remembering that the patient should be at the heart of everything clinical research professionals do and encouraged involvement of patients when shaping processes and protocols.
Speaking at the event, Clare said: “It is well known that the North East is a really strong area for research. Keep doing what you’re doing for today. But for tomorrow, it’s important to be out there and active in engaging. It’s a global market out there and we really need to be involved in new technologies because they are going to impact on you and your patients.”
Practical examples of research taking place in the region were showcased in a number of workshops at the event and a series of excellence awards were also handed out to NHS staff and teams who have gone above and beyond in the clinical research field over the last year.
To find out more about the CRN: NENC and the wide range of clinical research it supports across the North East and North Cumbria, visit: www.crn.nihr.ac.uk/north-east-and-north-cumbria/